Saturday, September 19, 2015

Edgy - Yes, Truth - No: Clickbait Warning

The self-described mission of the Edgy Truth website is to " ... present information in the hopes of sparking discussions and insight". It may be "edgy" but it certainly isn't truthful. It's a good thing that truth is far more than mere facts. 

Some problems: 
1) No date on the post (it is embedded in the url) - this makes it more difficult to know how current is the information they are presenting. Even if a website provides a date it may have code embedded to automatically present the current date rather than the date a post was originally made or written. 
2) The post is not attributed to a specific author - this makes accountability more difficult. 
3) Lots of ads, little content. About half of the content is quotes from other sources. 'nuf said. 
4) Links for references are either non-existent or half-baked, see below. 
5) There is a place for comments but no way to make them. Odd, especially given their stated "mission". I have seen others comment on other Edgy Truth posts but I don't know how they are doing so - whenever I have opened one of their pages I see a place asking for comments but no hyper link to do so. 

Point #4 is really what motivated me to write this post. I was so disgusted by the last link provided as a "reference" - it is, for all intents and purposes, a lie. It claims to be a link to a study, when in point of fact it is a reference to an informational website of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) providing definitions of pregnancy risk categories for drugs. The Edgy Truth article appears to be quoting a study but the link does not take the reader to the study from which they seem to derive the quote but instead links to the NIH website. This particular Edgy Truth opinion piece is based on a BBC article (for which they provide a link) - but the BBC article also makes unsupported claims (ie: that a study shows a 91% decrease in whooping cough in infants following maternal vaccination ... yet there is no link or reference citing this study). Sources should be cited (ie: written out), and links to sources provided whenever possible. 

I expect better from the BBC - an organization that should do far better in meeting basic journalism standards. Edgy Truth is barely rising to the level of clickbait. What's worse is that this came to me from Dr. Sherri Tenpenny - I'm not sure why she chose to associate herself with Edgy Truth but she could do better. I hope whatever revenue she is gaining from this is worth it. In general I respect her analysis regarding vaccine issues and have encouraged others to use her as a resource. Unfortunately I may need to put a qualification 
on that recommendation. 

I sent this email to while writing this post (9.5.2015 @ 1722): 

 Hi - 
Before I post my opinion about your Sept 4 post about
pertussis vaccine in pregnancy I think I should at least
contact you about my concerns.
No specific authorship - makes accountability difficult
No date in the body of the post (only in the url)
Scanty content and at least one of the links as a "source"
is incorrect - the last link does not take the reader to the
study that seems to be quoted but instead to an informational
NIH website giving pregnancy risk category definitions for
Lastly, if the point of Edgy Truth is to "spark discussions and
insight" why are there no comments on the website?
Amor Vincit Omnia
Protect your friends identity, use BCCIf forwarding, please delete the forwarding history, which includes my email address.This courtesy helps prevent Spammers from mining addresses and viruses from being propagated!Thank you!

I at least owed them that courtesy.

To date (as of Sept 19, 2015) there has been no response. I'll post an update if I ever get one.

Caveat Emptor is a good principle in general - it would be lovely if we were free to use that in regards to whether we do, or do not, get vaccinated.

Update (on Oct 31, 2015):
Dr. Sherri Tenpenny is no longer associated with EdgyTruth (as of Oct 1, 2015).

Here is the statement from a post on her Facebook wall:
**NOTICE: On Oct 1, 2015, severed ALL connections and affiliations with - We have partnered with several other sites to bring you information on vaccines, breast health and general wellness. This is pro-active, protective step to broaden the VaccineInfo page so FB won't view it as "solely anti-vaccine." After a disastrous and difficult web host migration, Dr Tenpenny's 3 other websites will be back up soon, and even better than before. Thank you for your patience. Please share this with your friends and fans.

Given the poor quality of content on I am glad she is no longer associated with them because I think her analysis and critique of vaccine related information is generally excellent and certainly is not in her league.

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